Marketers, no matter their industry, are tasked with creating a social media strategy that connects with consumers across generations. Each generation holds unique values, experiences, and behaviors that influence the content brands put forward. Home decor brands aim to increase brand awareness with younger audiences while converting suburban homeowners to new ecommerce platforms. Beauty brands strive to catch the attention of Gen Z makeup aficionados while equipping Generation X with the anti-aging products they need most. Understanding the differences and motivations behind each generation of consumers is critical to building trust and developing a marketing strategy that appeals to a diverse set of audiences.
More than 80% of every generation uses social media daily, establishing channels like Facebook and Instagram as top avenues for intergenerational marketing. Instead of shelling out marketing dollars on traditional channels and reserving digital mediums for younger audiences, craft a cross-channel social strategy that hits the mark with each of your target demographics. Intergenerational marketing not only expands your audience, but allows your community to grow with your brand. Speaking to consumers at different points along their buying—and life—journeys requires a social strategy that spans age groups and demographics, and includes content pillars carved out to engage specific audiences.
Let’s start with channels. It’s no secret that different age groups favor different channels. Facebook is a favorite among millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers with weekly usage sitting at 87%, 90%, and 96% respectively. Only 36% of Gen Zers use Facebook on a weekly basis, which means Facebook is where brands need to target 40-50 year olds. Keep in mind this age group accounts for over half of consumer spending in the United States and is widely forgotten in social marketing campaigns.
Millennials were at the forefront of the rise of social media, so it comes as no surprise that they’re more likely to spend time across a wider range of platforms than other generations. Unlike their younger counterparts, millennials have stayed true to OG channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Generation Z is often the most highly sought-after generation online and one of the most complex. The first generation born in the digital age unsurprisingly transformed the social media landscape. Generation Z is quick to jump on the latest channels and stay ahead of the trends. These users spend more time on a smaller number of platforms, with TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram all on their daily scroll.
Campaigns, products, storytelling, and partnerships are often top of mind when you’re mapping out content pillars for your brand. While demographics and age groups come into play in larger marketing strategy sessions, they should also be part of your regular content planning conversations. Once you nail down your target audiences, understanding what styles and visuals resonate with each audience will take your strategy to the next level.
Text-based content works especially well with Facebook’s most active users—baby boomers and Generation X. These consumers head to Facebook for communication and information. Automobile brands like Jeep and financial services brands like TD Bank invest in informational style advertising and organic content to engage and convert consumers who are most likely to splurge. Serving your Facebook audience shareable content not only increases your chances of conversions, but can amplify your reach.
Millennials head to social media for community, discovery, and inspiration. This generation is heavily influenced by their online communities and peers. Brands can capitalize on millennials with influencer and community-created content. As the first to fully embrace online shopping as well, millennials have the power to skyrocket ecommerce revenue for their favorite brands. Millennial favorites La Croix, Levi’s, and Target have all mastered the art of naturally integrating influencer and UGC into their content mix. Leverage the content that resonates with millennials across all social platforms to maximize engagement—and ROI.
Video content is key to winning over Generation Z. And personalization is critical to conversions. This generation craves an emotional connection with the brands they interact with and has high expectations for the content they engage with online. While up and coming brands like Kylie Cosmetics have crafted content strategies that speak directly to Generation Z with lo-if video and Instagram-first marketing, OGs like Adidas have managed to diversify its approach to social media to capture the attention of younger audiences. Brands need leverage data to get a stronger understanding of what makes this generation tick.
Intergenerational marketing on social media can sound daunting, but in reality requires marketers to nail down your target audiences and build out your content pillars with each demographic in mind. While a consistent approach across channels is always important, keep in mind which generations frequent which channels and which content resonates most. Track, measure, and ideate your strategy to capture the generations that matter to your brand’s success.